Surfing Icon Says She’ll Boycott Professional Tour Over Transgender Competitors
American surfing icon Bethany Hamilton has vowed to boycott the professional tour over a rule change that allows biological males who identify as women to compete against female surfers.
Hamilton took the stance after the World Surf League (WSL) announced it would comply with the policies of the International Surfing Association (ISA) when it comes to transgender surfers.
Athletes born men can compete in female divisions if they maintain a testosterone level less than five nmol/L (nanomoles per litre) for 12 months.
WSL chief Jessi Miley-Dyer said the policy was important in order to “balance equity and fairness.”
However, Hamilton took to Instagram to complain that testosterone levels alone don’t determined what a woman is.
“Is a hormone level an honest and accurate depiction that someone indeed is a male or female? Is it as simple as this?” she asked.
Surfing champion Bethany Hamilton has just announced she will NOT compete in the World Surf League anymore if they allow biological men to surf in the women’s events. She’s already an absolute legend but this stand makes her even more of a legend. Thank you @bethanyhamilton! pic.twitter.com/gF2qa7cD84
— Robby Starbuck (@robbystarbuck) February 5, 2023
Hamilton speaking out on the issue is a big deal because of her high profile and success in the sport. She has been featured in a number of television specials and documentaries after losing her arm to a shark attack when she was a child and overcoming it to compete at the highest level.
“I personally won’t be competing in or supporting the World Surf League if this rule remains,” said Hamilton, adding, “This concerns me as a professional athlete who has been competing for the last 15-plus years.”
The surfer said she decided to go public in order to “stand up and speak up for those in a position that may feel they can’t say something about this.”
“I think many of the girls who are on tour are not in support of this new rule, and they fear being ostracised if they speak up,” said Hamilton.
She also noted how sports where similar policies were introduced, such as swimming, running, and MMA, were being dominated by biological men identifying as transgender.
“Who is pushing for this huge change? Does this better the sport of surfing? Is this better for the women in surfing? If so, how?” she demanded to know.
Hamilton argued that a new division should be created solely for transgender athletes in order to protect the female division.
“I think it’s really hard to imagine what the future of women’s surfing will be like in 15-20 years down the road if we move forward allowing this major change,” she concluded.
As we highlighted last year, swimming’s world governing body slapped a total ban on transgender athletes that have gone through any form of male puberty from taking part in women’s competitions.
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Mon, 02/06/2023 – 16:22